Whitmer launches jail and pretrial system improvements

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LANSING, Mich (WILX) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's hope to improve jail and pretrial systems throughout the state began Wednesday afternoon with the stroke of a pen.

The Governor signed "Executive Order 2019-10" which will create the Michigan Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration.

The task force will start a bipartisan review of the state’s jail and court data to expand alternatives to jail, safely reduce jail admissions and length of stay, and improve the effectiveness of the front end of Michigan’s justice system.

At Wednesday's signing event at the Michigan Hall of Justice in downtown Lansing, Governor Whitmer was joined by Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Executive Director Blaine Koops of the Michigan Sheriffs Association, and Executive Director Stephan Currie of the Michigan Association of Counties.

“The fact is that we need to take a comprehensive look at the state of our criminal justice system because the status quo is not working for victims, the accused, and those convicted of crimes,” Whitmer said. “That’s why it’s so important to launch this bipartisan task force and ensure that the right people have a seat at the table to find real solutions to real problems in the criminal justice system.”

Figures show Michigan jail populations have nearly tripled in the last 35 years.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is offering its technical assistance to gather and analyze data related to Michigan’s jail populations.

The task force will go on listening tours to hear how real people have been impacted.

They will have their first meeting before the end of July, and they will meet repeatedly over the next six months to hopefully have their work completed by the end of the year so there can be reforms in the 2020 legislative session.

You can watch the announcement and signing with the link below.

You can read the text of the Executive Order attached to the story.